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Associated Press, Published September 09 2009

Conrad to stay at helm of Budget Committee

WASHINGTON - Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., will continue as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee despite a vacancy at the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Conrad had the seniority to take over the Agriculture Committee with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, leaving the chairman's post to lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

A Conrad spokesman says that by continuing to lead the Budget Committee, Conrad will maintain influence over issues important to North Dakota such as defense, education, energy, health care and agriculture.

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be the new chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Conrad remains a senior member of the Agriculture Committee and the Finance Committee, giving him a key role in working on behalf of the state's farmers and ranchers.

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